Curried Lentil Soup with Mango & Apples

Many years ago we were eating a winter dinner at The Snake River Grill in Jackson, WY. I had a curried lentil soup that was outstanding. It was so great, that after I returned I wrote a letter to the chef there and asked if he might share the recipe with me. I didn’t hear back for a few months, so assumed I would not get my wish. Long after I’d forgotten about it, one day in the mail came the hand-written recipe from the chef for the soup. I still have his original recipe, and it’s one of my favorite soups.

This recipe can be completely vegetarian if you use vegetable stock instead of chicken stock, and you can substitute all vegetable oil for the butter and oil. I often make it this way and my kids are none the wiser. The french green lentils called for in this recipe are getting easier to find than they used to be. They hold their shape unlike the more typical lentil does. An important part of cooking them though is the quick saute they have before you add the stock to the soup. This helps to seal the outside shell of the lentil I was told. This recipe makes a lot, so there’s plenty to have for a meal and freeze some for another day.

Curried Lentil Soup with Mango & Apple

2 pounds French Green Lentils DuPuy (rinsed, but not soaked)
1 large yellow onion, finely diced
2 large carrots, peeled & finely diced
4 stalks celery, finely diced
2 mangoes, peeled and diced
2 granny smith apples, peeled and diced
4 tablespoons good curry powder (I used 2 tbsp. hot curry powder & 2 tbsp. sweet pineapple curry powder)
1 to 3 teaspoons red Thai curry paste*
½ pound (2 sticks) unsalted butter
2 tablespoons olive oil
salt & pepper to taste
2-1/2 to 3 quarts chicken or vegetable stock

* Red Thai curry paste can add a lot of heat, quickly. Start with 1 teaspoon and adjust up, slowly, if you find you’d like a little more heat to the soup.

Sweat all ingredients in butter and olive oil except for lentils for 10-12 minutes on medium heat in a heavy-bottomed stockpot.

Add lentils, stir for 2-3 minutes.

Add 2-1/2 quarts stock, bring to a boil, and reduce to a very low simmer.

Simmer for 40-45 minutes, season with salt & pepper and add additional stock if the soup needs thinning.

This makes a great meal. Serve with a good, crusty bread.

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